Launched in 2002 by the University of Missouri St. Louis and University of Missouri Extension, Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) convenes community residents to build individual capacity, collaborate between communities and create sustainable neighborhood projects.
By its nature, NLA attracts many existing community leaders including neighborhood association presidents, block captains, business owners and community activists and provides them with opportunity to hone their skills and build relationships. NLA also works with community partners to seek out and identify new and emerging neighborhood leaders who have the potential to be change agents and who could benefit from a supportive network of partners and resources.
Through a 10-session course, MU Extension facilitators guide participants through the process of developing a community project. The curriculum covers topics such community building principles, planning, fundraising, marketing, engaging, and evaluating. NLA also produces a Community Toolkit that serves as a companion booklet to the course and provides worksheets on stakeholder analysis, asset mapping and action planning. At the end of NLA, the participants receive a Chancellor’s Certificate in Neighborhood Leadership from UMSL. According to a recent NLA graduate:
“NLA gave me a clear blueprint for engaging others in the project. That gave me the practical experience which has given me the confidence to succeed.”